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Collin Rhodes Factory
Place Made:
Aiken County South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
stoneware –alkaline-glazed
HOA: 15 3/4″; DIA: 10″
Accession Number:
This ovoid stoneware jar can be attributed to the Collin Rhodes Factory in Aiken County, South Carolina. This particular form and the illustrious swag and foliate design executed in white slip trailing is associated with Thomas Chandler’s work done at the Collin Rhodes Factory. This jar is much more bulbous than it is ovoid, as many other jars in the Edgefield area are found to be. There are also four handles along the shoulder of the piece. On opposing sides of the shoulder the pulled or extruded handles placed against the side of the jar in order to make what is often referred to as “lug” handles. An alkaline glaze involves a mix of clay and ash or lime that acted as a flux.

DATE: This squat and bulbous jar could represent one of the earliest examples of the post-Reuben Drake and Collin Rhodes partnership (see MESDA Acc. No. 3308) of 1836 and the pre-1840 Robert Mathis and Collin Rhodes Phoenix Factory (see MESDA Acc. No. 1054.3)

MAKER: Thomas Mitchell Chandler, Jr. was born in Virginia in 1810. His family moved to Baltimore in 1817 and there his career developed as an extraordinary potter. He left Baltimore in 1829 and between 1829 and 1832 may have traveled as an itinerant potter. In 1832 he was in Albany, New York where he enlisted in the U.S. Army. The army brought Chandler south to Augusta, Georgia and between 1832 and 1836 he served in various capacities and likely worked with several potters in Georgia. Scholar Philip Wingard estimates that Chandler was in Edgefield working by 1836 based on decorative slip work on several dated pieces from 1836. He worked in various pottery factories and with various partners until he had his own shop in 1850. In 1852 though, he and his family left for North Carolina where he died in 1854.

Wingard, Philip. “From Baltimore to the South Carolina Backcountry: Thomas Chandler’s Influence on 19th-Century Stoneware.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA (2013) 38-76.

Edgefield pottery is one of the most important examples of documented African-American artisanry in the early South. Slave labor played an important role in the development of Edgefield stoneware. A significant portion of the labor force in Edgefield stoneware factories was African American, and these people are often named in court proceedings and newspaper advertisements involving transfers of ownership of the factories. The most frequently named occupation for slave potters was turner, but they most certainly participated in all aspects of stoneware production. (Archaeological Survey of Alkaline-Glazed Pottery Kiln Sites in Old Edgefield District, South Carolina; prepared by McKissick Museum South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, 22-23)

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton